Independent and Dependent Variables

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What are independent, dependent variables? The DV is what is being measured. It is the effect in other words. The IV is what is being manipulated by the researcher. In other words, it is the factor that changes in the different conditions of the experiment. The aim of an experiment, therefore, is usually to investigate the effect of the IV on the DV. Take this …

The Experimental Method

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What is an experiment? By far the most common research method used in psychology is the experimental method, so we’ll start here for our introduction into research methods unit. You are also going to research, plan, design, conduct and report about your own experiment idea. A study is an experiment when the relationship between two variables is investigated. A variable …

Ethics in Research

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What ethical guidelines should researchers follow when conducting research? Modern psychological research in the West needs to follow ethical guidelines set out by research organisations such as the American Psychological Association (APA) or the British Psychological Society (BPS). These are important guidelines that ensure the human and animal rights to subjects involved in psychological research. Considerations when studying humans: Informed consent …

Operational Definitions

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What is an “operational definition”? It is important that a research knows exactly what their independent and dependent variables are. Thus, they need to have an operational definition. Operational definitions are useful when the DV is quite subjective. For instance, in the gum “experiment” the researchers were measuring the perception of the twins. Perception is such a broad term and if someone was to try to …

Introduction to Experimental Research Methods

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Quantitative methods in psychology are those that deal with quantitative data; in other words they deal with numbers and statistics. The most common form of quantitative research is the experimental method. All the topics of study in this unit will help you build the skills and knowledge that are needed for you to complete the Internal Assessment, where you get …

True, Natural and Field Experiments

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What you need to know… There is a difference between a “true experiment” a “field experiment” and  a “natural experiment”. These separate experimental methods are commonly used in psychological research and they each have their strengths and limitations. True Experiments A true experiment is one where: the researcher has controlled for the influence of extraneous variables (i.e. factors that may potentially become …

Hypotheses (HL)

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What you need to know…             HL students need to have an experimental and a null hypothesis. They should make note if their experimental hypothesis is one-tailed or two-tailed as this will be important when they come to conduct the statistical tests. When researchers make a prediction it’s only natural to want to “prove” that prediction right. So a null …

Experiments: Designs and Controls

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What you need to know… By the end of this double lesson, it is hoped that you will be able to answer the following key questions. Make sure you take notes as you work through understand these key terms and concepts. How and why are controls used in experiments? How and why are experimental design types used in experiments? (e.g. repeated measures, independent …